It is with deep regret that I must inform you that the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, originally to be held on May 16, 2020, is hereby postponed.
This is the first time in the recorded history of our Grand Jurisdiction that such an action is taken. However, it is taken in response to the continuing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis and out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and safety of our Masonic family.
Details of our rescheduled Annual Communication will be communicated in due time.
Be safe, my Brethren. Freemasonry, notwithstanding, still survives.
The notice of the Grand Master’s order is available here.
Kenneth A. Clay, Jr.
TO: All NH Master Masons
In response to the continuing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, and out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and safety of our Masonic family, I offer the following updated guidance.
On Thursday, March 26, 2020 the Governor of the State of New Hampshire issued a “Stay at Home” order for all non-essential workers through May 4, 2020. This applies to Masonic Lodges and Building Associations within our Grand Jurisdiction.
To help ensure that our Grand Jurisdiction, relevant to Masonic activity, complies with this order:
- Worshipful Masters throughout this Grand Jurisdiction are directed to cancel or postpone all in-person Masonic events until May 4, 2020.
- Essential maintenance or services in the Lodge or building like plumbing, heating, electrical, etc. that need to take place can continue, but maintenance items that can be put off, should be put off until after May 4, 2020.
My Brethren, good can come from bad. While Freemasonry, our state, nation, and our world are in the midst of a pandemic, the best in our fellow man is shining through. You see my Brethren, while “Lodges” may temporarily close, “Freemasonry” never closes.
Lodge Brethren are getting creative and finding innovative ways to remain connected in brotherhood. Master’s Classes are being held online. ‘Virtual’ Masonic Education sessions are happening. District boundaries are fading as Brethren from one part of our beloved state join online sessions held by those in another region. “Just checking on you” emails are being sent. Brethren are calling Brethren.
Brethren, you are living and practicing your Freemasonry!
I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank those members of our proud Fraternity representing police, fire, first responders, doctors and nurses who are making personal sacrifices for our benefit. I also applaud food services personnel, grocery store attendants, and those in the supply chain who are ensuring ample supplies of food and items essential for our daily living. Your special efforts in this critical time are very much noticed and appreciated.
Be safe my Brethren. Freemasonry notwithstanding, still survives.
Fraternally,PDF of the Grand Master’s Order is available here.
Kenneth A. Clay Jr., Grand Master
March 23, 2020
To: All NH Master Masons
Updated Guidance on Meetings and Events
Further to the guidance I have previously provided while we deal with the COVID-19 virus, please be aware of the following updates.
On Monday, March 23, 2020, the Governor of the State of New Hampshire ordered a prohibition on scheduled gatherings of 10 or more attendees. Given this order, until further notice:
- You SHALL limit attendance at in-person
Masonic events in this Grand Jurisdiction to 10 or fewer attendees. Any in-person
meetings you conduct should only be for items that are deemed “essentially necessary”
for the Lodge to operate (i.e. necessary building maintenance, authorizing the
Secretary and Treasurer to pay bills, etc.).
- Regarding Masonic Funerals, do not ignore a request for a Masonic Memorial Service. Contact the family and provide the Lodge condolences as well as those of your own. Explain the restrictions we are bound by (10 or fewer members) and note that the funeral home may have further restrictions. If your Lodge can participate, abide by attendance restrictions and make your departed Brother proud. Consider offering the family an opportunity to come to a future Lodge meeting or more private event where you can properly honor your Brother when conditions improve.
Prior guidance was given to Worshipful Masters allowing them to cancel a Stated Communication of their Lodge and to postpone upcoming events. I encourage Worshipful Masters to exercise their authority in this regard for the foreseeable future.
I have received several inquiries from Lodges looking to hold electronic meetings/calls throughout this trying period. Here is my guidance for those meetings:
- Stated and Special Communications can only be held in a face-to-face meeting and are limited as noted above.
- Except for Tiled Lodge functions, Lodges can meet in an informal electronic setting (WebEx, conference call) to continue Masonic dialogue. No Masonic ritual is to be performed on the call/electronic meeting. Rather they are to be used for general Masonic discussion and education.
My Brethren, I encourage you to look for ways to stay in touch. Now more than ever is a great time to make a call and reach out to your Masonic members and your Special Ladies. If they need assistance, see what you or the Lodge can do to help. While many may be doing just fine, the simple act of a phone call helps demonstrate to them just how important they are to us.
Communication is one of the four pillars of my term as Grand Master and now more than ever it’s critical we show who we are as Freemasons. My brethren, I leave you with this important lesson from our Masonic ritual – Let the World Know How Masons Love One Another!
March 16, 2020
Over the past forty-eight hours the President of the United States of America has declared a National Emergency and the Governor of the State of New Hampshire has placed this state under a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 Virus. Our political leaders are providing direction to all citizens for their own protection and I am providing additional guidance here along those lines.
On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, a notice was issued providing guidance on personal precautions you should all take when attending any Masonic meetings. This guidance should also be used regarding the ritual when opening and closing a Lodge and for any Degree work to be performed.
Due to the expanding global nature of the COVID-19 Virus, I am taking additional actions allowing the Constituent Lodges of this Grand Jurisdiction to continue to meet or to cancel Stated Communications as their Worshipful Master deems appropriate. I am issuing the attached EDICT providing specific directions to the Masters of Lodges on how to handle cancelling a Stated Communication.
You will note there is nothing in the EDICT speaking to Special Communications of a Lodge. As a point of clarification, Special Communications are called by the Master of the Lodge and can be cancelled at any time at his will and pleasure. All that is required of this action is proper and timely notification to Lodge members.
The response to the COVD-19 Virus continues to be changing by the day and I remind all my Brethren to exercise caution per the attached notices. The health and welfare of our Brethren and their families is of the utmost importance.
Be safe my Brethren.
Kenneth A. Clay, Jr.
I have been watching closely the public response to the COVID-19 outbreak. At this time, functions related to the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire remain as previously scheduled. However, being concerned for the health and welfare of the members of our Fraternity, I am providing the following guidance when attending any of our meetings and functions:
- If you are sick please stay home.
- If you are feeling sick or think you are coming down with something please stay home.
- Avoid handshakes, hugs, or physical contact. Elbow bumps are OK!
- If you use personal hand sanitizer, please bring your own to use as the Lodge may not have enough supply available.
- Wash your hands often as needed.
- Clean Lodge common areas, especially after meetings.
- If you are concerned about attending events that could expose you to the virus, please feel comfortable in making the decision to not attend.
I am closely watching for any public notices from the State of New Hampshire and will provide updated guidance as warranted.
As always take due notice and govern yourself accordingly.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Kenneth A. Clay Jr.
Brethren, Happy New Year! I wish you and your family peace, joy, and prosperity in 2020.
The year 2019 was a great one for Freemasonry in New Hampshire. Lodges throughout our Grand Jurisdiction made good men Masons. Lodges spent rewarding hours aiding and assisting our Masonic Widows. You made great strides in raising awareness of our Fraternity in your communities by marching in parades, hosting public breakfasts, serving hot chocolate at local events, stocking food items for the needy, and recognizing our veterans and first responders. Well done!
Now we “turn the page” to 2020, and by doing so, we enter a season of change. The early part of the year is typically when Blue Lodges hold their Annual Election of Officers and conduct Installation of Officers. With this change in leadership comes new opportunities to improve your Lodge experience.
As Masonic leaders, consider these potential opportunities:
- Have you developed your
plan for the year? The best time to plan is prior to your Installation. Your plan
- Your theme or message for your term
- Dates and locations for significant Lodge milestones (i.e. Cornerstone Ceremony, Lodge Rededication, Annual Meeting)
- Dates and subjects for Masonic Programs during Stated Meetings (remember to liaison with your DDGEO who’s a great resource for Masonic programs).
- Consider trying something new. For example, several Districts have started holding “Dine Around” functions where they pick a date and location for a meal at a local restaurant and use it as an effective and informal gathering of like-minded men and women.
- Celebrate and assist your Masonic Veterans and Special Ladies.
- Be visible in your Community. Programs to paint fences, help at homeless shelters, rake leaves for the elderly and serve meals at youth organizations. Participating in these activities not only displays the high moral character of our Brethren but is rewarding to the participants and recipients.
- Brand your Lodge building. Let your neighbors know about the great Masons that meet in your community. As you heard at our November 2019 Semi-Annual Communication, marketing material for the “Not Just A Man, A Mason” program is available at https://www.notjustaman.org/.
- Support our youth. Consider opening a DeMolay Chapter or Rainbow Assembly in your Lodge building. If you already host a Masonic youth organization, attend their meetings and functions. DeMolay and Rainbow are organizations for young men and women that teach similar moral lessons to those found in Freemasonry. Dedicate your time to our youth and our future will be richly rewarded.
As Blue Lodge members, consider these potential opportunities:
- Travel! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The Masonic experience you receive within the four walls of your Lodge is inspirational. But to more fully experience the Journey of a Lifetime, travel to other Lodges and Masonic events. Broaden your world by seeing how others conduct their Masonry.
- Get involved! Being a member of our Fraternity is an honor. Being an active member is a fulfilling and enriching experience. Ask your Worshipful Master if you join or start a committee. Offer to assist in performing Degree ritual. Suggest providing Masonic education through a program. Help to serve meals during Lodge collations. Offer to clean up and refresh your Lodge Masonic Library. Countless opportunities await; just ask!
- Start an “evening of Masonic discussion”. Several Lodges throughout our Grand Jurisdiction have endeavored to hold informal sessions in Lodge buildings or members’ homes where they discuss Freemasonry, its teachings and its deeper meanings in a relaxed setting.
Brethren, here’s your call-to-action: embrace change. Change, when implemented for the greater good, can be a positive thing. But do so with forethought and within bounds of our Grand Constitution.
Now is a season of change – embrace it!
Brethren, it’s no surprise that we could use more members in our beloved Craft. I fully appreciate the quality over quantity argument. There’s no doubt we want good men. There are good men out there looking for a fuller meaning to their lives, which is exactly what Freemasonry has to offer. We live in turbulent times, and Freemasonry offers a path filled with enrichment, fulfillment, and self-reflection. So, if there are good men seeking a better way of life, and Freemasonry provides that path, then why aren’t we being inundated with requests by these good men to learn more about us?
The key, my Brethren, is Masonic awareness. Please note the word “awareness”. I did not say “advertising”. We all know that membership solicitation is not allowed in this Grand Jurisdiction. But, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making your family, friends, and community aware of Freemasonry.
What are some of the ways you can make people aware of Freemasonry? As I have traveled throughout our wonderful state, I’ve seen many examples. Here are some for you to consider.
Not Just A Man, A Mason. For those who attended our recent Semi-Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, you heard a presentation on this very subject. The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite has created a program called “The Path Forward”, with a campaign titled, “Not Just a Man, a Mason.” Although the program was created by Scottish Rite, the campaign is totally branded as a Blue Lodge campaign. The program offers several assets that you can leverage in your Lodge and throughout your community including videos, banners and flyers. I encourage you to visit www.NotJustaMan.org to learn more.
Veterans and Special Ladies Programs are a great way to recognize Masonic milestones and to give recognition and thanks to Masonic widows. They also create an opportunity for the community to see our good works. Whether these events are held at a Masonic Temple, a local restaurant or community gathering place, make a point to conduct these programs regularly.
Masonic Funerals, while a solemn affair, create an opportunity for the community to see and hear what we’re all about. Done well, not only do you say a final farewell to a fallen brother in a discrete and respectful manner, but you can also leave a lasting impact on the non-Masonic guests. If you are so honored as to be asked by a fallen brother’s family to perform a Masonic Funeral Service, do it, and do it well.
Marching in Parades is a great way to come out from the four walls of your Lodge and to show your community the great men to whom you associate with. Dress appropriately for the type of parade you are participating in, but dress sharply and in full regalia (dispensation required).
Community Assistance is another wonderful way of “giving back”. It helps the world to see how we care for others. Great examples of the types of community assistance you and your Lodge can provide include: serving hot chocolate at local events, volunteering at a homeless shelter, stocking shelves at food pantries, and recognizing first responders by providing a cookout.
Community Builder Awards show how your Lodge recognizes the good works of others and in return, gives them a chance to see how and why we care.
Daniel Carter Beard Scouter Awards can be given to Freemasons who have helped with Scouts. Holding an event to recognize recipients of this award gives them a chance to see how and why we care about our community.
DeMolay and Rainbow are members of our Masonic family. Just as you work daily to support your family, we should strive within the length of our cable-tow to support our youth organizations. DeMolay should not be viewed as a “breeding ground” for new Masons, but DeMolay boys represent the best of our young men, and if it is right for them, their becoming Freemasons is good for us.
Masonic Open House is a way for you to open your Lodge to the world, giving the community a glimpse into us, and the possibilities we hold for them. Remember however that a Masonic Open House is not a recruiting tool – it is an awareness tool.
Guest Speakers at Masonic Functions are a great way for you to make your meetings more valuable. They also afford an opportunity for your speaker and his/ her guest(s) to learn more about Freemasonry.
These are time-tested ways of raising your community’s awareness of Freemasonry. Try some of them for yourself. Don’t be surprised if you hear some of these reactions: “I had no idea.” “I always wondered what happened in this building.” “You guys are amazing!” “Thank you for opening my eyes.” Brethren, you know much of what Freemasonry is all about. You’ve seen firsthand the positive affects it has had on your life. You know all too well the many wonderful things Freemasons do to support your local community. It’s time we let those good men seeking a better way of life know too.
I’ve shared some concrete examples of ways you can let the world know that Freemasonry is open for business in your community. Now it’s your turn to put my words into action. I can’t wait to see the results!
We had just completed the eighth and final Lodge of Instruction of the 2019 Lodge of Instruction season and I was on my way home from Horace Chase Lodge in Boscawen. The feedback that the Grand Lodge Line Officers, District Officers and I had received on this year’s program was very positive and although I was certainly tired, I was elated at our team’s accomplishment. And then it happened.
First, I received a text message. “Morrison Lodge in Northwood is on fire.” No way! It surely is a false alarm. Yet, as I completed my ride home, I was concerned. As soon as I walked in the door, I got the call – the one I was dreading. It was Right Worshipful Dennis Tuttle Jr, District Deputy Grand Master of the 5th District. calling me. Morrison Lodge is Dennis’ home away from home – his Mother Lodge. Dennis had left the Deerfield Fair where he was supporting a fundraiser for the Order of the Eastern Star. He was at the Lodge and reported to me that in fact, the building where Morrison Lodge and Crescent Chapter, OES meet was on fire. He was highly emotional and so was I. I gave him what advice I could muster under these extraordinary circumstances and asked to be updated in the morning.
That night my phone and email lit up. By morning it was all over the news. Sadly, the building was a total loss. A building which had stood as a landmark in the Town of Northwood since 1885 was now gone. It is a devasting loss. The one bright spot is that, except for a first responder who was treated for heat exhaustion, no one was seriously hurt.
Throughout the years, the building had served many purposes. Countless Freemasons were raised there and many Eastern Star members were initiated. The building included a dining room with a stage where entertainment was held. Four generations of Tuttle men have called this place their home away from home. When I was Worshipful Master of Horace Chase Lodge, I always enjoyed my travels to Morrison Lodge– Brotherly Love and Affection were always on full display in that building.
The days following the devasting loss of Morrison Lodge’s building, Masons throughout this Grand Jurisdiction began calling to offer their assistance:
“Morrison Lodge can meet at our Lodge building whenever they want.”
“Is financial assistance needed?”
“How can we help?”
The outpouring of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth has been awe-inspiring.
Since that fateful night, a plan of action has been put in place. For the time being, Morrison Lodge will meet at the home of Corinthian Lodge in Pittsfield. Crescent Chapter will meet at the home of James Farrington-Pleiades Chapter in Rochester. Right Worshipful Chris Busby, member of the Grand Lodge Communications Committee is doing a great job responding to media inquiries. Right Worshipful David Collins is leveraging his expertise by working with the Lodge on an insurance claim.
While the pain that comes from the loss of a home is intense, Morrison Lodge, through Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, champions on.
Freemasonry not withstanding has still survived.
Regretfully, Morrison Lodge is not the only Lodge to suffer such pain. Not that long ago, the building that was home to Fraternal Lodge in Farmington also fell prey to fire. Yet repairs were made, the building was sold, and through another demonstration of Brotherly Love and Affection, the members of Unity Lodge in Union extended Fraternal Relief by offering their Lodge as a meeting place for both Unity Lodge and Fraternal Lodge. Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent upon all Brother Masons.
We have a Brother in the North Country who’s facing a personal challenge as he has been diagnosed with a vicious disease. He’s married and working hard to raise a family, however, because of his health challenge, his job is at risk and he has a difficult road ahead.
Brethren from District No. 8 and his Lodge are conducting fundraisers to help relieve his distresses. Because of your generous donations to the Annual Charity Fund Drive, Grand Lodge was recently able to present this Brother with badly needed funds to help alleviate some of his financial burden. In addition, the Scottish Rite, through the Scottish Rite Almoner’s Fund, has been able to provide an additional contribution to this Brother. No one knows what the Grand Architect of the Universe has planned for this Brother and his family, but through Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, Freemasonry is doing what it can to help to relieve his family’s distresses.
It’s not always money that is needed for relief. Sometimes a Brother simply needs a shoulder to lean on; a gentle voice to offer comfort and support; someone to runs some errands or provide trips to the doctor. If the need is there, Freemasons are there to lend a helping hand. It is a tenet our profession.
Life has a way of throwing “speed bumps” in our way from time to time. Sometimes those bumps feel more like mountains. But while the sun sets in the West to close the day, we can always look forward to it rising in the East, shining in all its glory. Throughout the ages, when faced with the lowest of the lows, Freemasons have lent a helping hand to help, aid and assist a fallen Brother. We’ve done it before, we continue to do it today and we’ll do it until time shall be no more.
So, my brethren, “What came you here to do?”. To constantly strive to improve yourself in Masonry? Certainly! To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent upon all Masons. Practice the Tenants of your Profession. You’ll be a better man and a better Mason for it.
Close your eyes for a moment and think back to that time when you first entertained the idea of becoming a Freemason. Do you remember how you felt? Excited? Anxious? Curious? Adventurous? I suspect it may have been a bit of all those emotions. So, you took a leap of faith and started your Masonic journey.
Let’s be clear. You didn’t “join” Freemasonry. You were accepted into our Ancient Craft. This acceptance should be viewed as a great honor, and one not to be taken lightly. You have a strong tradition to uphold – in this Grand Jurisdiction, men have been proudly accepted into our Fraternity for the last 230 years! It is your duty to both uphold this tradition and better yet, to thrive in it. Your Masonic experience should be a “journey of a lifetime”. Whether you are relatively young or not so young, it is my hope that your Masonic experience has become a “journey of a lifetime”, filled with many precious memories. Regardless of rank or privilege, it should be every Mason’s goal to ensure fulfillment for you and your brethren.
So how do we get there? How do we ensure fulfillment for ourselves? How do we help our fellow man? Please consider the following.
Where are you in your Masonic journey? Let’s start at the beginning. Your journey likely began when a Mason you knew signed your petition for membership. He is referred to as your “first line signer”. A first line signer’s job is not complete when the ink on your petition dries. His job is to get your journey off on the right foot. He should ensure that someone is assigned to assist you in learning your lessons. He should be sure you are aware of the Masonic calendar and encourage your frequent attendance. He should offer you a ride to Masonic events and sit with you to help explain what’s happening. In summary, your first line signer should be lending a helping hand; guiding you through a seamless introduction to our Ancient Craft.
Congratulations! You’ve just been raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. To this point, you have been the center of attention at your degrees. Now it’s time for your fourth meeting. Don’t be surprised if the center of attention shifts away from you as Masonry in your Lodge marches on. But don’t be shy. Get involved. Let your first line signer and your Worshipful Master know that you want to be an active Mason.
There are plenty of ways to get the “new guy” involved.
- You can assist with degrees. You can take a walk-on part (i.e. craftsman in the Master Mason Degree) or assist with a speaking part (i.e. a portion of a Degree History or Charge).
- Partner with your Lodge Historian. Perhaps you can help with a program explaining the history of your Lodge. This has a dual benefit – not only does it keep you engaged, but it expands your Masonic Education. Assist in the kitchen. I’m sure your Stewards would appreciate the help. And when serving a meal, it’s a great way to meet your new Brethren.
- Offer to serve on Investigating Committees. Learn from those who have experience interviewing applicants. It’s another great way to meet new people and to travel.
- Expand your Masonic Light. Offer to meet with the District Deputy Grand Education Officer for advice on recommended reading material. Look for Lodges offering Masonic Education programs and travel to them (and bring a brother with you!). Perhaps you may even want to ask your Worshipful Master if you can present a Masonic Education program during a Stated Meeting in your own Lodge.
Another point I can’t emphasize enough is the value of travel. Whether you are a relatively new Mason, well along your Masonic journey, or a seasoned veteran, travel keeps you engaged and informed. You would be amazed at what you can learn by visiting other Lodges. See how they perform their degrees. For the most part, degrees performed in Lodges throughout our Grand Jurisdiction are the same, but there are subtle twists. See them for yourself, and report back to your Lodge on your likes and dislikes. Another benefit of traveling is the opportunity to bond with your Brothers. True brotherhood is formed both within and without the four walls of the Lodge room. Encourage carpooling, offer to drive, or get invited to ride along.
Perhaps you’ve been away from your Lodge for a while. Much has changed in the last decade.
We encourage you to come to check us out. For some time now, Grand Lodge has been encouraging Lodges to get away from standard business formats at their Stated Meetings and to enhance their value to the membership. Lodges are now forgoing the reading of minutes in lieu of offering Masonic Education Programs. Lodge meetings are put at rest so that brethren can hold open discussions on topics ranging from: “Guarding the West Gate”, Masonic symbols, the relevance of Masonry in society and ways in which your Lodge can give back.
Lodges are also getting creative with the use of music. We all can appreciate how music can enhance a Masonic experience. With the decline in the availability of organists, Lodges are taking a different approach. Some are using technology to play music on phones or other devices. Some Lodges are leveraging the musical talents of its members. I know of one Lodge where a member (who happens to be a Past Grand Master) uses his guitar to strum a marching sequence. The bottom line is that Lodges are getting creative in ways to help positively enhance your Masonic journey.
Now let’s step outside the four walls of your Lodge. There are countless ways that you can enhance your Masonic journey through community involvement. Encourage your Lodge to help in the community. Paint a fence at the local cemetery. Rake leaves at a local park. Clear snow from fire hydrants. March in the Old Home Day parade. And when doing so, let them know you’re a Freemason by proudly wearing your Masonic hat, shirt, and/or ring. Post your activity with local news outlets and social media. Let them know that Masonry is alive and well in your community! Not only will your community benefit from your efforts, but you will be enriching your own personal Masonic experience.
Brethren, you are Freemasons for a reason. Your Masonic journey should be one that charts a series of milestones that help to grow you as a person, filled with enriching memories along the way. Make the very best of your journey. Don’t wait for someone else to ask you to get involved.
It’s your journey, so make the most of it!
** This article was originally published in the Grand Lodge Newsletter **
Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Grand Master’s Newsletter. This is the first of what is planned to be regular communications to the members of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New Hampshire. I trust that you will find this newsletter to be informative and useful.
I am honored and humbled to have been Installed as the 117th Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of New Hampshire. I commit to you that I will do my very best to uphold the highest of standards set forth by my predecessors. Freemasonry deserves no less.
In this first issue of the newsletter, I wish to share my vision of Freemasonry. But first, let’s lay the groundwork. I think it’s fair to say that my personality first started to broaden when I joined the International Order of DeMolay for Boys as a teen in the mid-1970s. It was then that I learned to interact socially, to memorize and recite ritual, to speak publicly, to organize and run meetings and to develop a vision and plan. The lessons I learned in my youth I have carried through to my adult life.
Brethren, Freemasonry in New Hampshire stands at the threshold of something truly special. Why and how so? Throughout my Masonic travels I have learned that there are good Masons who want to become better Masons. I’ve learned that there are good men in this state who want to become Masons. Our state, cities, towns and communities need more Masons, and with them, our moral teachings. And lastly, Masonry needs more good Masons. So, the demand is clear. But why do we stand at the threshold of something special?
I believe that Freemasonry provides an opportunity to realize your life’s purpose. It can help to clarify the deeper meanings of life. Masonry offers Brotherly love. Our ritual is rich and meaningful. Masonry opens avenues to lifelong friendships. It gets you engaged in community activities and a spirit of “giving back”. All told, your Masonic journey stands the potential to help you truly understand why you were placed on this earth.
You may ask, “How can I get to this enlightenment?” Through my DeMolay upbringing and its extension into my adult life, I offer the following path. This roadmap is charted through a series of 4 pillars: (1) Retention, (2) Ritualistic Excellence, (3) Masonic Education, and (4) Communication.
The first pillar is Retention. Today our Grand Jurisdiction is comprised of nearly 5,000 Masons. Some young, some not so young. Some live locally and others span the globe. Some attend Masonic events, others don’t. If we are to grow and prosper, we must offer “experiences”, not meetings. These experiences should be informative, enjoyable and valuable. In the coming months, we’ll be sharing examples of successful techniques that you can employ in your Blue Lodges.
The second pillar is Ritualistic Excellence. Brethren, I realize that some are better at learning and reciting ritual than others. There’s no debate here. What I do expect however is a drive for continuous improvement. Throughout the Masonic year, Grand Lodge will be offering a series of programs to lend a helping hand as you strive to improve yourself in Masonry.
The third pillar is Masonic Education. Brethren, there is a wealth of information available for those who wish to learn more. These span the realm of introductory literature, to the esoteric, to the history of Freemasonry. Grand Lodge has a team of education experts armed with toolkits of dynamic scope and depth to address your personal Masonic educational needs.
The fourth pillar is Communication. If we are to lead, to follow, to grow and to inform, then we must excel at communication. Whisper good counsel in a brother’s ear. Ensure everyone is on the same page. Have a vision and a plan and share it. To communicate clearly and concisely is the simplest form of Brotherly Love.
Brethren, the theme of my term is, “Be here because you want to be, not because you have to be.” Our time together is precious, so we should constantly strive to ensure that our personal Masonic journey is filled with enrichment and joy.
I look forward to continuing to share my thoughts in coming issues of this newsletter. I also look forward to seeing you throughout the coming year as I travel this great state, visiting Lodges, participating in Unity, affiliate and concordant body events and embracing all things Masonry. Together, let’s enjoy the ride!
*Note – I welcome your feedback on this newsletter. Please submit comments, questions and suggested content to email@example.com.